We’ve split the guide by the two factors that often cause refusals or expensive quotes and excesses – personal circumstances and your house. Here’s what’s covered by each section:
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Buying home insurance can be as simple as ordering a pair of shoes online. You can shop around, compare products and prices, and purchase at the click of a button.
That’s great for most people, but those with unique houses or complicated personal circumstances can face a much more frustrating process.
What the insurance industry impassively describes as ‘non-standard homes’ might be the owner’s pride and joy, and can be anything from historic listed buildings to homes suffering from subsidence.
When companies give you a high quote or refuse to insure you it can feel like a door being slammed in your face.
This article explains the factors that may cause you to be refused insurance or quoted an unreasonable price and what you can do to find cover.
Although it may not seem fair, insurers use your job and any legal or financial issues you’ve experienced to judge the likelihood you’ll need to make a claim. Here’s what you need to know and do if you have been or are at risk of being refused insurance.
You only have to disclose convictions if asked about, but it is vital to check your policy documents because they may say you should inform your insurer about past convictions.
If you are asked about convictions you’ll have to let your insurer know about any held by anyone covered by the policy, not just the person paying for it.
You do not have to declare spent convictions. Use this online calculator to check when a conviction is classed as spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA).
Policyholders do not have to declare convictions received during a policy, but they must let the insurer know at renewal.
Some companies will not cover people with previous convictions but our insurance partner will be happy to do their best to give you a quote, and if you join our group you can get 10% cashback.
There are a range of occupations that have a bigger impact on insurance than others, we’ve focused on a few of the jobs that often crop up.
- Foster carer or childminder Many insurers believe your contents is at a greater risk from children you did not give birth to. HomeProtect, the insurer we have partnered with for our home insurance group with 10% cashback, is happy to offer cover to people who are seen as having high-risk homes because of their professions.
- Musicians Because musicians may be out of the home at night for performances, gigs and tours, insurers see their homes as more at risk. As well as our group for people that have non-standard home insurance needs, we have written a guide to musical instrument insurance.
- Jeweller Some insurers see jewellers as high risk because valuable stock may be kept at their homes.
- Landlord Home insurance has always been expensive for landlords. It can be even more difficult getting a cheap quote if you’re renting a property to students, couples or families. HomeProtect will cover all of those tenants, whatever type of property is being rented. Find out more and compare providers with our guide to the best landlord insurers.
You can get a quote for almost any occupation from HomeProtect, join our group to find out more and get a 10% cashback deal.
If you make a number of claims or a big one, your insurer may be hesitant about continuing your policy when it comes to renewal. Or they may decide to hike up your premium.
People often advise friends not to make claims for items under a certain value and just take the hit. But sometimes that’s not possible, especially if you’re unlucky enough to have to make a number of essential but expensive claims.
It’s always worth shopping around if your renewal quote is high. But you will have to declare previous claims to new insurers, which means finding a provider to switch to can still be difficult.
The partner for our home insurance group for non-standard needs will always consider people, no matter what their claims history is. However, they are not able to provide a quote if you have a claim that is outstanding with another company.
Unoccupied or empty houses
Unoccupied houses face difficulty getting a quote because they are at risk for a number of reasons.
- The house may be targeted by burglars who can spot there is no one living there
- No one is there to notice things when they go wrong. For example, if there is a leak it will be left to cause more damage than if it was dealt with immediately
- Homes need maintenance and if no one is doing it, it can lead to long-term damage
Home insurance policies allow homes to be unoccupied for a certain amount of time. This can vary but 30 or 60-day periods are common. This should allow most people to leave their house for holidays or business trips without it being an issue.
But standard policies may not be enough for those who are working overseas, in hospital for a long period, selling a home after they’ve moved or waiting for a new tenant. Landlord home insurance often offers longer unoccupied periods but home owners have fewer options.
It’s important to make sure an unoccupied home is secure by installing an alarm and CCTV, but having insurance is still essential.
The insurer we’ve negotiated 10% cashback with aims to give people a quote online no matter what their circumstances are.
Bankruptcy, CCJ/IVA, credit history
Many insurers will make you call them to confirm details of bankruptcy before you can get a quote. However, HomeProtect allows people to get a quote online.
People with ‘very poor’ or ‘poor’ credit ratings will struggle to find cover from mainstream providers. They can join our group here to get cash back on a quote from HomeProtect.
County court judgements (CCJs) are usually issued to someone who has been unable to pay back a debt on time. When getting a home insurance quote, you’ll need to know the year the CCJ was served against you.
Individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs) can make life difficult when in place but even past arrangements should be disclosed to insurers. It might be tempting to omit to tell insurers about a previous IVA, but they will find the IVA information because it’s available in public records and they could then refuse a claim or cancel your policy.
Your home and where it is built
The construction of your home and the area you live in are key factors in the cost of a quote and ability to get insurance. Here are some of the ‘non-standard homes’ that will cause mainstream providers to refuse insurance or offer expensive premiums.
Homes in flood risk areas face higher premiums and if they’ve actually suffered a flood it is notoriously difficult to find reasonable insurance.
We’ve explained how the recently launched Flood Re scheme is helping.
However, not all insurers have signed up to Flood Re. We have created a separate group for people looking for home insurance in flood risk areas, where you can get an exclusive cashback deal with a specialist provider.
Subsidence or underpinning
Subsidence is the “downward movement of the ground beneath buildings other than by settlement” and is often caused by trees near a building.
If a survey finds your home suffers from subsidence it doesn’t necessarily mean it is about to collapse but it will result in long calls to insurers to convince them to give you cover or having to use a broker.
Underpinning can shore up homes but because it is evidence of subsidence it can still cause headaches when it comes to house insurance.
Once you’ve joined our home insurance for non-standard homes group you can get a quote online rather than spending hours on the phone to an insurer. If you join our group you'll also get 10% chashback.
Landslip or heave
Not to be confused with subsidence, landslip is the “downward movement of sloping ground” and heave is the “upward movement of the ground beneath the buildings as a result of the soil expanding”, according to a Financial Services Authority definition from 2011.
Homes that are affected by either will face similar problems to those with subsidence.
Architectural features make buildings unique but they can also push up insurance premiums. Many issues relating to construction need to be taken into account, here are three common design features that HomeProtect covers:
- Barn conversion These are one-of-a-kind constructions so it’s worth approaching a specialist insurer that will take into account the competence of the builder, the type of building materials used and the extent of conversion carried out. Our home insurance partner can insure box construction barns, cruck framed barns, and post and truss barns.
- Timber frame Having a timber frame reveals little about a building – it could be a modern eco-home, 16th century Tudor property or a mix of timber frame and brick walls. Those properties will have very different insurance needs so it is important to give an insurer as much information as possible about the building. Insurers’ concerns may include fires and flooding.
- Flat roof Flat roofs can put homes at risk from collecting water that can then cause damp and leaks that will damage the rooms below. HomeProtect, which provides insurance for our non-standard homes group, will cover roofs that feature materials such as felt, EPDM, rubber and grass. It will even cover homes with 100% flat roofs.
Join our home insurance group to access a cashback deal and find out more about the types of buildings you can get cover for.
Listed buildings have architectural or historical significance. That also means they’re likely to have higher rebuild and maintenance costs because they cannot be modernised to deal with problems.
Homes built between 1700 and 1840 are likely to be listed. There are hundreds of thousands of listed buildings in the UK and more than 90% of them are Grade II, which means the “buildings are nationally important and of special interest”.
If you’re looking for Grade I, II* or II listed building insurance, you can get a quote online and cash back with our specialist partner after joining our non-standard home group.
Large homes will have a higher rebuild cost and will contain considerably more contents, so it’s important to get the right level of buildings and contents insurance.
HomeProtect allows you to individually list and cover every valuable in your home at today’s prices.
We’ve launched our group to offer fairer insurance to people with non-standard homes or personal circumstances. Whatever your situation you can join the group to access 10% cash back if you take a policy with HomeProtect.